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Association of Patent and Trademark Attorneys' trade marks

One of the principal aims of a business is to build up goodwill for its goods or services. This is done primarily by adopting, using and promoting suitable trade marks. Properly promoted and protected, a trade mark can become the single most valuable asset of a business. Consider, for example, trade marks such as KERRYGOLD, GUINNESS and AER LINGUS.

A trade mark is a mark (generally a word or symbol) used to distinguish the goods or services of one particular business from those of its competitors. The right to a trade mark can be acquired by use under common law and/or by registration. The common law right can only be invoked against a competitor in passing-off proceedings which are extremely expensive and uncertain, essentially because of the necessity of establishing a reputation based on usage. On the other hand, the right in a registered trade mark can be enforced in an infringement action where it is not necessary to prove reputation.

A trade mark can be protected by way of registration either at the Irish Patents Office for Ireland, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market for Europe or internationally in certain designated countries at the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Trade marks can also be protected individually in most countries. In devising and adopting a trade mark it is important that a preliminary search be carried out to ensure that the chosen trade mark has not already been registered by a third party. For further information concerning protecting your trade mark it is advisable to consult a trade mark attorney.

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The registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company represents arguably the most widely recognized consumer product on the face of the earth.
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